BIOS (basic input/output system):
Short for Basic Input/Output System, the BIOS (pronounced bye-oss) is a ROM chip located on all motherboards that allows you to access and set up your computer system at the most basic level. In the picture below, is an example of what a BIOS chip may look like on your computer motherboard. In this example, this is a picture of an early AMIBIOS, a type of BIOS manufactured by the AMI. Another good example of a BIOS manufacturer is Phoenix.
BIOS (basic input/output system) is the program a personal computer’s microprocessor uses to get the computer system started after you turn it on. It also manages data flow between the computer’s operating system and attached devices such as the hard disk, video adapter, keyboard, mouse and printer.
The BIOS includes instructions on how to load basic computer hardware and includes a test referred to as a POST (Power On Self Test) that helps verify the computer meets requirements to boot up properly. If the computer does not pass the POST, you will receive a combination of beeps indicating what is malfunctioning within the computer.
The four main functions of a PC BIOS:
POST – Test the computer hardware and make sure no errors exist before loading the operating system. Additional information on the POST can be found on our POST and Beep Codes page.
Bootstrap Loader – Locate the operating system. If a capable operating system is located, the BIOS will pass control to it.
BIOS drivers – Low level drivers that give the computer basic operational control over your computer’s hardware.
BIOS or CMOS Setup – Configuration program that allows you to configure hardware settings including system settings such as computer passwords, time, and date.
BIOS is an integral part of your computer and comes with it when you bring it home. (In contrast, the operating system can either be pre-installed by the manufacturer or vendor or installed by the user.) BIOS is a program that is made accessible to the microprocessor on an erasable programmable read-only memory (EPROM) chip. When you turn on your computer, the microprocessor passes control to the BIOS program, which is always located at the same place on EPROM.
When BIOS boots up (starts up) your computer, it first determines whether all of the attachments are in place and operational and then it loads the operating system (or key parts of it) into your computer’s random access memory (RAM) from your hard disk or diskette drive.
With BIOS, your operating system and its applications are freed from having to understand exact details (such as hardware addresses) about the attached input/output devices. When device details change, only the BIOS program needs to be changed. Sometimes this change can be made during your system setup. In any case, neither your operating system or any applications you use need to be changed.
Although BIOS is theoretically always the intermediary between the microprocessor and I/O device control information and data flow, in some cases, BIOS can arrange for data to flow directly to memory from devices (such as video cards) that require faster data flow to be effective.
What key to press for BIOS?
The most common keys to enter Setup on Acer hardware are F2 and Delete. On older computers, try F1 or the key combination CTRL+ALT+ESC. If your computer features an ACER BIOS, you can restore the BIOS to bootable settings by pressing and holding the F10 key.
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Information Brought To You By Biovolt Corporation.